Houston Astros veteran first baseman Jose Abreu was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday with lumbar spine inflammation, a lingering issue that required two cortisone shots to ease the discomfort
Abreu acknowledged before the Astros' 11-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels that he has dealt with back issues sporadically this season, a campaign that has included him producing career-low numbers across the board
"I knew (something was wrong with Abreu)," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "I could tell by the gait, but this has been bothering him on and off at least since the All-Star break. Ballplayers are used to playing hurt, but it's up to us to (determine) the difference between hurt and injured.
Right-hander Jose Urquidy (2-2, 6.10 ERA) is the scheduled starter for the Astros on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the Angels. Houston will seek a sweep after also winning Friday's opener 11-3
Sunday will mark Urquidy's eighth start of the season and second since his return from a three-month stint on the injured list with right shoulder discomfort
Urquidy allowed five runs on three hits and three walks with one strikeout over 3 1/3 innings but did not factor into the decision of a 9-7 road win over the New York Yankees last Sunday. Urquidy threw 62 pitches in his first appearance since April 30
Urquidy is 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA over 10 career appearances (nine starts) against the Angels. He finished 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA over four starts against them last season, including back-to-back starts in September during which he went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings
Rookie right-hander Chase Silseth (3-1, 3.72 ERA) will start for the Angels on Sunday
Silseth did not factor into the decision against the Seattle Mariners last Sunday after allowing two earned runs on four hits and one walk with a career-best 12 strikeouts over a personal-best seven innings in the Angels' 3-2 loss
In three starts since being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake for his second stint with the Angels this season, Silseth is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA, including 26 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings
Silseth will make his second career appearance -- and first start -- against the Astros. He logged two innings of relief on June 2 and allowed one run on two hits and two walks with two strikeouts in the Angels' 6-2 road loss
The Angels will need Silseth to continue his strong pitching of late to avert the series sweep. His effort vs. the Mariners in his previous start immediately followed a road start July 31 against the Atlanta Braves during which he allowed one run on three hits with four strikeouts over five innings in a 4-1 Angels win. Silseth recorded 10 strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings while limiting the Yankees to one run on four hits and two walks in a 7-3 victory on July 19
Silseth made one start in his previous nine appearances this season, logging a 5.30 ERA. His emergence as a starter has been a revelation
"There's a lot of factors in that: his health, conditioning, mindset," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "He's progressing in all of those areas. He's understanding what it takes in between starts to prepare him as best he can for his start day
"During the games, he's understanding how to conserve energy in between innings, not to mention he's simplified his arsenal. I think it's something that's been very beneficial to him.
--Field Level Medi